Study: Changing Canada’s CBD laws would create 9,000 jobs and boost GDP by billions

Former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, left, at a media lock-up March 22, 2017. He has led a study that says Canada could generate 9,000 jobs if it changed how it regulated CBD products. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press Files.

A report commissioned by the Canadian Health Food Association says that thousands of jobs and billions of dollars could be generated if lawmakers were to allow non-prescription CBD health products to be manufactured and sold.

The study, by a University of Ottawa-based think-tank called the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, says a change in regulations would generate a potential market worth $2.5 billion within five years.

“Our modelling suggests that a market for CBD health products could contribute about $1.9 billion to the Canadian economy in the first year, growing at an average rate of nearly seven percent each year,” Kevin Page, IFSD president and CEO, said in a news release.

The Canadian Health Food Association said that acting quickly to enable businesses to capitalize on the demand for CBD health products would create a billion-dollar niche market in Canada while shutting down illicit sales and assuring consumer health.

“[W]e want to be able to show key decision makers the size of the potential CBD health product market here in Canada, contingent upon a change in regulation,” The CHFA’s Dan Demers said in the release.

As the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis, Canada is poised to support a thriving CBD health product market with a change in policy,” said Demers.

Page, formerly Canada’s first ever Parliamentary Budget Officer, said such a regulatory chance could lead to the equivalent of about 9,000 full-time jobs and a further 6,000 spinoff jobs.

Demers said Canada must act quickly because countries such as the UK, Australia and the United States are taking steps to create a regulated market for CBD.

“This is a significant missed opportunity for businesses wanting to fulfill the demand for CBD health products in Canada and around the world, but are constrained by current regulatory barriers,” he said. “The demand that could be fulfilled by regulated CBD health products for consumers is largely being fulfilled by unregulated products through an illicit market.”